11/22/2014 10:17 am ET Updated Jan 22, 2015

Women in Business Q&A: Kathrin Lausch, Executive Producer, Ntropic

Kathrin Lausch serves as Executive Producer of visual studio Ntropic in the New York office. Kathrin was born and raised in Europe, where she later studied marketing, advertising, and entertainment law and earned degrees from both the University of Munich and the University of Geneva.

A self-taught artist, Kathrin supported her college education with her paintings. Her work was exhibited in Geneva, Munich and New York City, which was the impetus for her relocation to the U.S. Her interest in merging creativity and business brought her into New York's burgeoning creative production world. Before joining Ntropic, Kathrin held production roles with B-Reel, Partizan Entertainment and Compass Films, working on clients as diverse as Puma, Perrier, and Infiniti - and collaborating with directors like Michel Gondry, John Leguizamo, Nick Cassavetes, NagiNoda and Sidney Lumet, to name a few.

Kathrin brings her deep interest in fashion and beauty to her work with Ntropic, and a diverse set of creative skills to the production business. Among her credits, Kathrin has created and executive produced reality television shows, commercials, and branded content for traditional, digital and experiential platforms.

She also makes time in her career for her long standing passion for social good campaigns, notably teaming with causes like Freedom For All to help bring their Anti-Human Trafficking campaign to life, and advocating for diversity and inclusion causes like and the #ChangeTheRatio movement.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
When I started in the advertising and film business I was very eager and hungry to build something, to create and push boundaries and to have a voice, my voice. I had been a European lawyer and wanted to prove that I had a place in this new world, the US and also in a new field. I signed a lot of directors that were amazing and some that were also quite challenging. I worked 24/7, flying once a week or being on shoots for weeks at a time. I went instinctually for anything that looked like an opportunity to make a statement. I took on a lot.

I learned to be more strategic and better with boundaries through time. Now, my time feels more precious and I think more about long-term strategies and plans instead of just putting myself on the map. Also my boundaries and my ability to apply them became better. Life experience helps you know when things are worth doing or not, as the case may be. As a leader it's important to show people how not to make the mistakes you did. Getting older and having more experiences teaches you how to prioritize and also how not to sweat the small things as much. Insane deadlines, crazy demands...somehow we always get things done and knowing that should be calming.

How has your previous employment experience aided your position at Ntropic?
On every job you learn something new: new work experiences, new client dynamics, new challenges and of course new things about yourself. I came from the production side, dipped into branded and multi-platform content, TV and longer format film and now I am on the Post side. It seems though as if the crossover of different types of content is happening more than ever which is exciting. It's also helpful to know what part of a chain you are and having dealt with the other parts in the past gives you a understanding of everybody else's agenda and what it takes to make it all come together.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at Ntropic?
The NY office is part of our larger creative organization and it's the most boutique-feeling office. We focus on crafting beauty, brand and technology executions. The challenge and the opportunity is to grow into more brands and areas. This is New York, after all. We are trying to create greater visibility, to grow and also to strengthen our presence in the fashion and beauty fields given our close proximity to it. The projects we are working on are really interesting, like a Reebok interactive Lookbook, new technology launches, client direct jobs like IRobot's Roomba and gorgeous beauty campaigns like Olay. My team is amazing, we have a lot of fun working together and everybody is very committed to doing the best job they can. A good work environment is so important and I have a lot of respect for everybody here.

What advice can you offer women who are seeking a career in the creative industry?
I think it's a very stimulating and exciting field. It is super competitive. You start at the bottom and need to prove yourself. The work hours are never ending and you are only as good as your last job. If you love what you do, it's the best job ever. I like to think that women should go into every job as if they are a person, not a woman or a man and negotiate that way and be driven by that alone. The Mad Men model is changing, but by no means are women yet treated equally as men, but you can feel the change. I think my advice is to love what you do, not settle for less and take big bites. The world is welcoming brave and talented women. It's not 'who is going to let you?' but 'who's going to stop you?'.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Balance, what?! Well, it's a blur for sure. New Yorkers seem to blend it all together and work too much. After having been in the business for a while, a lot of your friends are also your clients or in the same field, so entertaining is also a little bit work related. I bike to work to clear my head and I'm involved in animal rescue organizations (very grounding and rewarding). I go to the gym to kick box, I cook, I read, I go to art shows and the theater. NYC has such amazing art that it's very stimulating to pretty much see anything here and gives you a reset and a new perspective. Oh and I drunk online shop, don't ask.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
I think women that are on the career path and also want to have kids struggle to figure out when the right time for it is. Most of my advertising friends have kids in their late 30s because that is the first time they have time to breathe and really think about it. I think the new generation has a good understanding of what they want and are infiltrating jobs that were in the typically male dominated fields. I think women and men need to realize that it takes a village to raise children with two working parents and make the work environment such that women don't need to choose and having a baby is just another part of their career.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
I was mentored when I first came to the US but it wasn't called that. It was a relationship built on trust where the person would make helpful introductions. It's priceless to be able to have that and it also is very rewarding to be on the other side now and to hear and understand what a new generation is going through. I highly recommend becoming a mentor and help open doors for people and especially young women. Paying it forward goes a long way, and I am still friends with all my 'mentors' today. Now I'm actually able to help some of them get a job or an in.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
I am part of a woman's group called and this group is full of incredible powerhouse women. Here are a few New York women I admire. Reshma Saujani, who started 'Girls who Code' and opened doors for all these young women and taught society that there is no such thing as an 'it's not for girls" thing; Mary Jordan, who started the Watertank Project and created amazing Art on Watertanks all over NYC to bring brands and artists together to create awareness for water; Vivian Rosenthal, who is the Founder in Residence at Google's 30 Weeks, an incubator to help designers become founders. There really are so many women leaders in NY, it's quite inspiring.

What do you want Ntropic to accomplish in the next year?
I am excited about the New Year. We planted a lot of seeds this year and are now seeing them come to fruition. It takes a few production cycles sometimes to bring in new clients and we are also growing a lot. I want us to grow as a brand and company and work on more international projects as well. We have a few interesting seeds in Dubai and Asia planted and I want us to continue having fun creating amazing campaigns.